On November 8th, we hosted a round table with other service providers in the gender violence and sexual harassment space to share our programs, best practices, and find places we could collaborate. We had 8 impassioned advocates join us, including representatives from Freely in Hope, RefuSHE, and GVRC in Nairobi Women's Hospital.
When discussing the work that we did, we realized that we had many challenges in common, and therefore, we shared a lot of advice and thoughts amongst us:
- Creating Accountability and Consistency: Because many of the women we work with have never had structured schedules and been held accountable in within formal environments, as well the opportunity cost of working or other activities, there is often trouble to getting them to consistently attend the required activities. Simply making the classes and programs mandatory is not enough. One solution to have the women put down a deposit to make sure they have skin in the game, and depending on their attendance, they will be able to not only get the deposit back, but even double or triple it. This might be difficult when scaling. Another solution is to create accountability pairs between novice and more senior members of the program. This gives the more senior attendees more responsibility and takes the burden of the administrators and case managers to follow up.
- Economic Empowerment: Most of the services we provide are meant to get these women back to a baseline of normalcy or integration, but there are not enough programs that support life after that. We need to partner with vocational training programs and economic empowerment initiatives in order to help these women create a livelihood after they graduate from our programs, to sustain themselves, their children, and make sure they do not relapse.
- Legal Resources: Because our programs focus on rehabilitating the victims, whether they are women or children, there are not many legal resources to pursue these cases. Formal pro-bono organizations, like Lawyers without Borders, have lengthy and bureaucratic processes to handle cases. We need to find a consortium of lawyers who have their own time and freedom to actually litigate the cases and punish the perpetrators on a pro-bono basis.
Please let comment if you have any thoughts about to how to address the challenges or you want to collaborate with these organizations!
Additionally, TEDx Ridgeways is looking for powerful and engaging speakers for its upcoming event on April 13, 2019. The theme is, "Hidden Figures" and is focused on the hidden realities of sexual violence and how survivors and advocates are working together to rebuild communities. If you know of a survivor or advocate who is working to build a better world free of sexual violence, please read the requirements and fill out this form in its entirety to be considered for selection: https://goo.gl/forms/Rj8WxmAaSvFfF4fl1